Feedback from Friends

September 19, 2016
We have talked about feedback from judges, but honest feedback from friends and family is also great for a number of reasons:
1. It is faster and free to share - you get instant feedback
2. You can use the feedback and make subtle changes and have the same people try the update to learn if you made the correct changes based on their palette or critique.

A few tips:
1. Join a homebrew club. These usually have BJCP members and the meetings often include trading of homebrew. Learn from each other!
2. Host tasting parties and BBQs. Sometimes we will just go around the table, give a few notes, and then all try. Wait for each other so you don't impact the opinion of others. Other times I will just serve a new brew and then ask what they think (they often don't know if it is craft brew or homebrew so you get opinion without them worrying about your feelings. 

All pallets are unique. Give honest feedback, learn from critique!


 

Hops Experiment - Learning Aroma

June 22, 2016
Fun, easy experiment for you and a few buddies. Of course, I never condone purchasing tasteless brew, but that is what you need for this one.

We used Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, Columbus, Hallertau, and then left the 6th bottle as a "control" to start off. Open the bottles, drop in 2 pellets or 4-5 crumbles, and then quickly recap. I let these sit 3 days room temperature and then placed them in the 'fridge the morning of the Homebrew Club meeting. Fun way to learn how the different hops change th...
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DIY Stir Plate

March 9, 2016

The Stir Plate - At a recent homebrewing meeting, my buddy shared a worksheet with needed yeast count and target gravity readings. I quickly realized that aside from a few of my smaller batches, I was usually under-pitching my yeast. I haven't lose a batch to infection and am usually pretty close to my target gravity, but I sure would appreciate reducing the risk if possible...and a bubbling airlock in a few hours puts us all at ease rather than waiting 12-15 hours like I have on some of ...
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Feedback from the Experts - Enter a competition

November 30, 2015
There are many reasons to enter a homebrewing event:
  1. Meet new people
  2. Force you to check out a different homebrew shop or brewery (where you drop off your bottles)
  3. Gain feedback from certified judges
  4. Win Prizes

I just received written feedback from 4 BJCP-certified judges. In some cases of comparing notes you can tell it comes down to personal preferences between bittering units in a northern English brown ale, but in other instances the Beer Judge Certification Program officials made the same comm...


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Used Equipment is fine

November 24, 2015
Garage Sales, Craigslist, Offerup...all great places to look for used kegs, carboys, propane tanks, burners, and stainless pots.

With the cold weather arriving soon or already here, I am noticing great deals online and even better deals in the neighborhood. Last weekend I picked up a "Golden Gate keg" for $5!?!? It will be awhile before I put it to use (Cask Conditioning, I hope), but I couldn't pass up the deal.

I think people are cleaning out before winter holidays and the yard sales go away...
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Bottling Mistakes that can ruin your batch...

October 28, 2015
You have done everything right, concentrating on quality and sanitation during every step...right up until you pitched the yeast into cooled wort and carefully put it in your bottles.

 

Here are three last-stage things to remember that will help ensure a batch you are proud to share with friends!

 

1. Use Dark Bottles

Light damages beer, causing a "skunky" taste. Even though you can purchase clear bottles for less, dark bottles keep the light out. Don't skimp on this expense. After a few batc...


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Volunteer - Free Education at your local Brewfest

August 31, 2015
This might sound silly or it might even be common sense, but before you just show up and start sampling things aged in barrels or infused with oysters or finished with spruce tips...I really encourage you to volunteer at these events. I worked at a great festival this weekend with the intention of really trying to learn a thing or two and it worked! I have poured before during the event but really only with the intention of getting in free (another great benefit of volunteering). This weekend...
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Immersion Wort Chiller

August 17, 2015
What an easy project! And completely worthwhile. No more carrying a boiling pot over to a tub or sink of ice.

I went with the brass fittings and hose adapters so it threads right to the garden hose. You don't have to worry about lead in this case because the brass doesn't go into the wort and hopefully if any water does drip from a fitting it falls outside of the kettle.

You could also use clamps and hose on the copper ends. I have found this done several times online. Do whatever seems easiest...
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HLT

April 29, 2015
Well, the Hot Liquor Tank is done. The first half was easy. I was a bit nervous drilling through the steel. One mistake and it could be ugly for life or worse...ruined! I took my time and made two perfect holes. I am really happy with how this looks and eventually how it will function. Getting the weldless fittings just right took some time. I was initially tightening way too much. Those little rubber washers or o-ring gaskets only need about half a turn past hand tight; trust me, water wont ...
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Wooden Brew Sculpture

April 24, 2015
Well, the brew stand is finally complete, right down to the wheels and last coat of sealer. To be honest, this took me much longer than I wanted. I am very happy with the design and wasted almost no wood at all, but it took many evenings of cutting, attaching, and thinking. I will leave this outside under an overhang so I am curious to see how it holds up under exposure to sunlight in the summer and cooler/wetter conditions in the Fall and Winter.

At the very least, I now have a mobile, safe ...
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